Jay Griffiths

Jay Griffiths

Jay Griffiths is an award-winning author of more than six critically acclaimed books. With her first book (Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time) Jay Griffiths won the Discover award for the best new non-fiction writer to be published in the USA. The citation concluded: “Her book is cleverness in the service of genius.” Her second book, Wild: An Elemental Journey, (Hamish Hamilton) was shortlisted for both the Orwell prize and for the World Book Day award and won the inaugural 2007 Orion Book Award in the USA. Her third, Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape (Hamish Hamilton) was published in the USA as A Country Called Childhood and was listed in the New York Times Editors' Choice for 2014. In 2016, she published a memoir, Tristimania: A Diary of Manic Depression (Hamish Hamilton). In 2021, her book Why Rebel was published as a Penguin Special. It explores the urgency of fascism and ecological harm, and her activism within Extinction Rebellion.

She was the Hay Festival International Fellow for 2015/16.

Her fiction includes Anarchipelago, which she wrote attracted by the wise mischief of the anti-roads protesters. A Love Letter from a Stray Moon, (Text and Little Toller) is a fictionalised autobiography, a tribute to Frida Kahlo, Subcomandante Marcos and the rebellion at the heart of art. One of her stories was selected for the anthology Best British Short Stories, 2014.

She has written for Radiohead in their newspaper ‘The Universal Sigh’, and her work has featured in The Strokes film about the making of their latest album, and was quoted on the cover of KT Tunstall’s album Tiger Suit.

She has reviewed for The Times Literary Supplement, and has written long-form journalism for Aeon magazine, and columns for Orion magazine in the USA. She has contributed to the London Review of Books, the Guardian, the Observer, The Idler, Utne, Lapham’s Quarterly, and Wild Earth and has broadcast about her work on the BBC's Radio 4, (the Today programme, Start the Week, and Woman's Hour) and on Radio 3 and the World Service, as well as national radio in the States and in Australia.

She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, where she gave a presentation on 'Kith' and is a member of the Welsh Academi. She has appeared 'in conversation' with John Berger at the British Library. She has also appeared at the Purcell Rooms, the Oxford Literary Festival, the Hay Literary Festival, Melbourne Writers' Festival, Adelaide Festival of Ideas, Sacred Arts Festival in India, Stoke Newington Literary Festival, Bristol Festival of Ideas, Essex Book Festival and other literary venues.

“The saddest word I know in any language is the word endling. It refers to the last individual of a species, final and forlorn, at whose death the species is extinct. The chill at the bone and no grief like it. An endling is the very epitome of tragedy, and the word was coined, appropriately, in this age of extinction, this strange age of our dawning knowing, seeing the unhallowed horror that is approaching.   

Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars and they are lining up now to write rebellion across the skies. Why rebel? Because nature is not a hobby. It is the life on which we depend.”

Jay Griffiths

Photo: Ruth Lawrence

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